If I tried to list all the new Samsung HDTVs launched at the show I'd go blind, so with deference to those who say I already am, and in the interests of my being still able to review a few of them later this year, I'll hit the highlights. With a full, new lineup of HDTVs (LED sidelit LCDs, conventional CCFLfluorescentbacklit LCDs, and plasmas), new BD players with faster claimed booting and loading times, and three complete BD audio systems, Samsung is ready for the 2010 retail wars.
Samsung's press conference echoed the themes heard throughout the daygreen tech, Internet TV, LED-backlit LCD, 240Hz. To address those last two points, the company announced a new line of LED LCDs, dubbed Luxia. Three models were shown, the LED 6000, 7000, and 8000 (pictured). The 55-inch LED 8000 offers oodles of connectivity and content-access options as well as true 240Hz operationnone of this 120Hz with backlight flashing. It's also just over 1 inch thick. Can't wait to get my hands on one!
Even though Samsung has announced it is suspending research and development of OLED, there were still some prototypes at the front of its booth, including a 31-incher and several measuring 14 inches. They looked amazing.
When I heard that Samsung has a new Joe Kane-designed single-chip DLP projector, I had to check it out. The SP-A900B boasts 35% better contrast than the SP-A800B, mostly due to lower blacks thanks to the DarkChip 4 DMD and other refinements. To help Samsung sell the projectorwhich it has been unable to do in any volume with previous modelsKane is helping to set up a real distribution channel that will make the projector available only through dealers who install and calibrate it. The SP-A900B should be available next month for $15,000. The demo is using the new Da-Lite Affinity screen, which Kane also helped design, and the result is spectacularthe best video image at the show in my view.
Sennheiser's RS170 headphones are full-sized, wireless, and surround-savvy -- the latter coming in the form of a proprietary, not licensed, technology. The company's previous surround products had used adaptation technology licensed from SRS. Price $150.
Dubbed a Digital Media Receiver for the serious enthusiast with a large library of digital media files, Netgear introduced the Digital Entertainer Elite. With a substantial 500 GB hard drive that is upgradable to 1TB, the Digital Receiver plays 1080p content via HDMI and is capable of Blu-Ray quality (according to the company spokesperson). The real question is how will you find or rip media equal to Blu-Ray quality to even store on the device?
Sharp has two new Blu-ray players, the BD-HP16U ($279, lower left) and 22U ($299, lower right). Both are BD-Live capable, and the 22U comes with 2GB of memoryI got conflicting stories as to whether that memory is internal or an included memory stick. Both also implement Aquos Pure Mode, which automatically sets things like aspect ratio depending on the content in current and future Sharp TVs.
The new E77 series of 120Hz LCDs from Sharp include 40-, 46-, 52, and 65-inch models, all with the new Super Lucent Advanced Super View panels (say that three times fast!) that are said to improve contrast while reducing glare.
Tucked away in one corner of the Sharp booth is a new single-chip, 1080p DLP projector, the XV-Z15000, which will sell for a mere $3000 starting in March. It has Sharp's VyperDrive, which bypasses the video processor for gaming, but it doesn't have anamorphic capabilities or, more importantly, lens shift, which makes placement more difficult.
Among nine new models of LCD TVs on display at Sharp's press conference, the company introduced the world's first models with an integrated Blu-ray player, including the LC-46BD80U pictured here. In addition to the side-mounted, slot-loading player, members of the BD80 line offer Pure Mode, which senses the content format and automatically sets the TV's aspect ratio and other parameters. Three screen sizes will be available in February: 52" ($2600), 46" ($2300), and 42" ($1900). LCD/DVD combos have been around for quite a while, so I've been wondering who would be first to market with an LCD/BD combo; now Iand youknow.
Surround sound reaches a new and more affordable price point with the Sherwood RD-5405 a/v receiver, just $149 list. You get five channels of 70 watts each and HDMI connectivity. The step-up model, the RS-7405, may be available with or without HD Radio. Our poster boy is a prototype of the iNet 2.0 which offers iPod, USB, ethernet, and wi-fi connectivity plus internet and FM radio -- and it's a photo frame.
Italian SIM2 is another company known for ultra-high-end projectors, including the new and improved flagship HT5000E introduced at CES with three DarkChip 4 DMDs. If you have to ask how much, you can't afford it, but I'll tell you anyway$66,000 for the projector with your choice of 16:9 lens. If you want the ISCO 3 anamorphic lens and sled, that'll be another $15,500. The projector looked spectacular on a 116" Da-Lite Affinity screen. The single-chip Domino D60 (pictured) is more down to earth at $5000, and adding a Panamorph anamorphic lens and sled with mounting bracket brings the total cost to $9000.